How many of us spend our days thinking about the things that might have been? Things we could have done differently? People we should have let go of, or people we should have held on to? We all have regrets, and we all tell ourselves "should’ve," "would’ve," and "could’ve."
Let’s be honest here. None of us wants to be the oppressor of our own lives, but in truth, that is exactly what happens. We self-sabotage, we denigrate ourselves, we become tired, angry or hurt. We go around with a little old chip on our shoulder -- a chip that eventually erodes away our happiness, peace and self-confidence. We tell ourselves (and others) some tall tales about things that happened to us, and of course we speak from our perspective.
According to Marianne Williamson, “We become deeper and wiser through our pain.” How deep and wise are you now?
We are constantly bombarded by many little (insidious) messages about who we should be, what we should wear, and what we should look like. It’s no wonder that many are walking around with a thin layer of uncertainty and feelings of inadequacy. Add a few dollops of anxiety, and there’s your recipe for the general malaise that permeates our society.
There is a better way to live in peace and very much in the present.
Here are the 10 steps to make Peace with your Past
1) Make peace with where you are right now. You are the sum of all the lessons, mistakes, joys and triumphs thus far. All of who you are is collected into a single drop of your present life.
2) Send love to all the people in your life. This includes those who have caused you the deepest pain.
3) Be aware of where you put your focus. Pay attention to your thoughts, and be diligent about how your self-talk can influence the story.
4) Have compassion for yourself. Learn to be very sweet with yourself. Make sure your self-talk is kind and compassionate.
5) Forgive. It doesn’t mean to forget -- it means that you’re not harboring any ill feelings or holding onto any negative energy.
6) Write a letter to your parents.* This is a very powerful exercise (see below.)
7) Do this letter writing exercise with any other people in your life. Remember, it's for your eyes only. This is a chance to acknowledge, release, and let go.
8) Don’t be a victim. Learn from your mistakes and lessons... just don't hold onto the story.
9) Let go of any old grudges and resentments. Letting go of old energy is very freeing and empowering. Be positive.
10) Realize that you did the best you could with what you had. No regrets, please. You can't change what happened in the past, you can only control your perception of it.
You had to become who you were meant to be by making it through the past you've had, and while it’s helped shape you, it doesn’t have to define you.
Say to yourself: “I am not my mistakes or lessons.”
Know that letting go of the past, or even pieces of it, can be an amazing process. But, it is just that: a process. It takes time, especially when one has had to weather some powerful storms.
You’ll know you’ve made peace with your past when you can fully appreciate the whole experience. Bless it. Send it love.
It is then, that you’ve made peace with your past.
Remember to bring in all of your energy into this moment~
NOW is the time.
**Letter of Forgiveness: Try this very powerful exercise. The product is for your eyes only. Sit quietly, where you will not be disturbed. Choose one person (yourself, a parent, old lover, friend, co-worker). Determine your intention for the letter, and write it out. (it might be to let go of an old resentment, express your hurt, or maybe even to forgive yourself)
Address your feelings, get it all out. Start with, “I feel angry about…”
Then, imagine at the other person is writing back to you. Let “their” words flow back to you. It might surprise you at what comes out from their perspective.
(For example, a recent client did this exercise, and was surprised that her parent “responded” from their own wounding and it helped to shift her perspective as to why they did what they did.)
There are also many other teachers who have techniques on healing from your past. Check out Jack Kornfeld and Wayne Dyer.
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A recent talk at a local library-(see picture) led me to a fascinating discovery:
Humans are an interesting bunch.
Most of us spend many hours, many days and many years in thinking mode.
We think of what has happened to us, or what will happen.
The human brain ruminates, plots, plans, worries, and dreams up many “what if” scenarios.
Wouldn’t you like to get to a point where you are running the show of what your brain thinks about?
What if you were able to take a big step back from the mind chatter and to sort out what is important and what is distraction? How would you feel about being able to make decisions from a clear and calm center?